A Spoonful Of Water Is Your Secret Weapon For Reheating Pizza

You've embraced the classic self-care tradition of ordering a large, everything pizza from your favorite local joint as a way to unwind after a stressful week. Despite your best efforts, you still end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers. You don't want to let them go to waste, but getting that perfect crust and close-to-fresh bite again can prove incredibly challenging: The crust is too soggy, the cheese gets too crispy, and the toppings just aren't ideal even after some time in the oven. But with a little kitchen know-how, you can reheat your pizza with the help of water for the closest-to-fresh bite possible.


The best two methods for reheating your pizza with water's help involve the oven and the stovetop. Using the microwave, although seemingly the obvious go-to option, will only result in a soggy crust and way-too-hot toppings that are likely to remove the first layer of skin from the roof of your mouth. If you added water when using the microwave, you'd simply be introducing more moisture, and the result would be a scalding hot, limp, and weighed-down slice. Here's how to enjoy the best leftover pizza with the help of water, plus your oven or stove.

The oven method

One of the best ways to bring your takeout pizza back to life is in the oven. As chef Chris Ancona — who used to sling pies at Roberta's as head pizza maker — told Food & Wine, you'll want to preheat your oven to about 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a pizza stone and an oven-safe dish of water (about ¼ cup) inside while it heats. The stone will crisp up the crust while the pan of water keeps the oven steamy, making your cheese gooey. Place the slices on the stone and cook anywhere from three minutes for thinner New York-style slices and Chicago's lesser-known tavern-style pizza to five or six minutes for thick slices — your deep dish and Sicilian varieties. 


Another option is to heat your oven to around 275 degrees Fahrenheit and place the leftover slices on a baking sheet. Before they go in, spritz them with a mist of water from a spray bottle. The little bit of moisture will soften the crust without making it soggy. Cover the sheet with foil, then bake for about 20 minutes.

Air fryers are a decent option, too, and as a convection oven the air circulation help revive your pizza crust to perfection while leaving the inside soft. You can reheat slices at 350 degrees Fahrenheit after adding a couple of teaspoons of water to the bottom of the fryer basket. This will keep the crust from drying out during the roughly five-minute reheat time.

The skillet method

If it's simply too hot out to turn on the oven and a faster solution is required, you can also use water to reheat pizza on the stovetop. Grab a trusted cast-iron skillet big enough for your slice of pepperoni, margherita, etc. If you don't have any cast iron, a large non-stick skillet works well, too, so long as you have a tight-fitting lid. 


Put the skillet on the stove and heat it until it's searing hot, then add in your slice to the pan and, on the side where the slice is not, add about a tablespoon or two of water. Place the lid on and let the water steam. This will help add back water and moisture to the cheese and toppings. Once the crust is crispy again and your toppings have regained a bit of life, you can remove the skillet from the stovetop, let the slice cool a bit, and enjoy your expertly reheated pizza.